a work in progress ll nina shares

@lamboflemila
@lamboflemila

a work in progress ll nina shares

@lamboflemila

I remember walking down the hall of my elementary school and hearing, “are you a boy or a girl?” from a kid sitting in the hallway (in detention).

I remember being a competitive swimmer in junior high and, after a swim meet, my gym teacher asking why I couldn’t manage to run a mile.

I remember a classmate yelling at me to “walk back to Hawaii” everyday in Algebra until I walked out of class.

I remember a friend’s boyfriend in high school making fun of Tegan and Sara for being lesbians and just laughing along to not make it weird.

I remember being captain of the swim team senior year of high school and yet still hating my body for not being a “swimmer’s body.”

I remember hearing the word “genderqueer” for the first time and scoffing because what could that really even mean.

I remember telling myself I needed to learn to run to lose weight.

I remember when the greeting, “Hey ladies!” started to sting.

I’ll be blunt: literally all of that sucked. Not being skinny, not being an easily distinguishable race, not being a clear gender — all of that has made it a challenge to feel in control over my own body, or that my body was worthy, for most of my life. I won’t say that that changed overnight, either. It’s been a slow and steady process. And acknowledging what hurt has allowed me to reclaim agency over my body, and finally begin to love it. And so I’m growing.

I’m finding my gender identity (for now! gender is fluid!) as non-binary.

I’m actively learning about others’ experiences and building up my capacity for empathy.

I’m determining how to distance myself from relationships that no longer serve me.

I’m running because I like spending time outside and how it makes me feel.

I’m practicing yoga because of a teacher who made space for queer people to feel safely challenged, adjusted for, capable, and cared for.

I’m surrounding myself with people who cheerlead each other.

I’m leaning into my queer identity and my queer community.

I’m finding instructors and practices like Bethany and the be.come project who have transformed “fitness” from something exclusive and body-negative into a somewhere where someone like me can practice movement that not only inclusive and positive but FUN.

I’m growing to love my body for what it is, and what it can do.

It feels cheesy to say it but I’ll say it: I’m a work in progress, and I’m learning to be cool with that. I’ve still got a lot more growing to do. A lot more space to create for myself and others. A lot more methods for unlearning a history of body-negativity. And truthfully, why I’m so excited to share this musing here is because doing anything in a body that has been deemed unfit for whatever reason is hard. But if you’re reading this, then maybe you’re already doing it, or thinking about doing it. And whatever “it” is, I hope you’re learning and trusting in that.

To you reading this, and especially to my fellow non-binary, non-white, and/or non-“normative”-body folks out there: you keep doin’ you and learning and growing, because you are a gift the world should be so lucky to have.

PS: I recently started an Instagram called @themshealth which is a community-build resource for non-binary wellness information. It will be working to cover wellness topics such as bodily health, mental health, nutrition, sexuality, identity, and fitness (we take a lot of inspiration from be.come!). If you identify as non-binary or would simply like to learn more as an active ally, we would love to have you follow along <3

 

Cover image by @lamboflemila, in collaboration with @variousroots. You can find more of their work here

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more than this shell ll bailey shares

@poets
@poets

more than this shell ll bailey shares

I’ve been fighting with my body since always. I’ve felt a stranger to it, controlled by it, at war with it, betrayed by it, and at its mercy. This thing that was supposed to be my home, my space, did not feel like mine. It wasn’t how I saw me. And it wasn’t what I felt.

When I was in high school my therapist told me I had symptoms of body dysmorphia. She said I saw myself differently in the mirror from how I actually looked. I’ve always been naturally curvy and when I looked at myself in the mirror that was all I could see. Curves on curves. Dips and bumps that screamed femininity. All the media told me I was that I was supposed to love this. I was supposed to feel proud and sexy of this thing that felt completely foreign. I didn’t want it. I wanted to be a line. I wanted the absence of waves that shouted something I didn’t feel. I started smoking cigarettes to skip meals, I threw away my lunch when people weren’t looking and I took my breakfast on the go in the morning so I could discard it without anyone knowing. I started destroying what I didn’t want.

It wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s and out as non-binary that my therapist would tell me my dysmorphia was perhaps more a case of gender dysphoria (the distress a person feels due to their birth-assigned sex and gender not matching their gender identity). This felt huge. It hadn’t been thinness I was after. It was androgyny. I wanted an escape from my curves – an escape from being seen as a girl.

Movement has always been a huge part of my life. I’ve always loved to dance and wiggle and move about. Moving freely felt like a certain kind of freedom in my body… Moving for me and no one else. I felt like I could reclaim something. I could take ownership of this exterior part of me even if it was just for a second. I could feel me inside of it. I could express myself through it. I needed a regular way to practice this. Then I found the be.come project.

the be.come project has allowed me to move in my body every day. I can’t express the security of being able to have a personal movement practice led by an ED recovered non-binary friend. No worries of triggering language and done in the safety of my own home. The more I’ve practiced, the more comfortable I’ve gotten. I’ve noticed myself body checking less. I could feel myself getting stronger. At this point in my life, I am by far in the best physical shape I’ve ever been in and I genuinely could not tell you how much I weigh because I’ve refused to step on a scale since starting this practice (something I couldn’t imagine accomplishing several years ago).

Since starting the be.come project, I’ve gotten very passionate about trans and queer representation and inclusion in fitness.  I got my yoga certification and now work as an instructor in Philadelphia. I’m still working every day to see myself as more than this shell, but teaching others to find strength through movement is helping me to do the same. I’m learning to reclaim what never felt like mine. My body is not a girl body and it never has been. It’s my body. I’m here and I’m so much more than this exterior shit society has taught me to care so much about.

This body is mine.

And I am more.

So much more than this shell.

bailey photo

thanks to bailey for sharing this week. You can find out more about them at their site here.

cover image originally posted by @poems. Content by a.reutova

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feeling proud ll sammie shares

@zackgreywrites
@zackgreywrites

feeling proud ll sammie shares

@zackgreywrites

In many ways, 2018 was a transformative year for me. After a handful of years that felt like dark times—loss, growth, grief on many levels—I started to like and love myself and my life again.

It’s hard to identify the exact cause. I started being honest with myself about what I really want, I started giving my time to myself instead of to everyone around me, and I started enjoying my body, kinda for the first time. My body journey is a long (lifelong) one, and I’ve spent most of my years feeling like I needed to hide it. Even though I would never admit to anyone that I didn’t like my body (cuz I’m too woke for that), a very real, very deep part of me has always been ashamed of it.

It was January 2018, I had just ended a relationship, was regrouping majorly, having a lot of solo time, listening to a lot of PJ Harvey, etc etc. I knew Bethany through Nico (childhood friends) and was really enchanted by their energy, assertiveness, vulnerability, allathat, so I thought, why don’t I see what the be.come project is all about. So I hopped onto the January Project and it was like a lightbulb went on, in my core. I’m a dancer and have dabbled in yoga over the years, so the blend of those with Pilates just felt so good. Like, it felt really really good, and it was fun. And they have great music taste. And I didn’t have to leave my apartment (which I was barely doing that month). So I kept doing it.

Image from iOS

And kept doing it. And every time Bethany reminded me that doing something was better than nothing, I had to agree. And every time I gave my shoulders little smooches, I gave myself a lil chill. And after some weeks or months, for the first time in my life, I felt f*cking strong.

Like, I’m pretty strong. And I never thought of myself that way. I have been so afraid of embracing my own power (for many reasons) for a long, long time, and something about this work cracked me open in a way I am deeply grateful for. And helped me to see my physical self in a new, wonderful way.

I love feeling strong. And I now feel the connection across my physical strength, my emotional strength, my spiritual strength—they all feed each other. I wanna keep my body strong (so I can fight racists and homophobes and more), and the be.come project has been the best, most sustainable partner I’ve had in that endeavor thus far in my life.

Here’s to bustin’ out many more mountain climbers, and still being proud of ourselves on the days we don’t. Happy Pride 🙂

Thanks to @sammiesachs for sharing!

Cover image by @zackgreywrites. 

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